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NAHC Legislative and Regulatory Priorities

By Stephen Tweed

What’s most important to you in terms of legislation and regulation regarding home health care and hospice?  What’s the impact of new laws and regulations be on your home health agency or hospice?
What do you need to do to get ready for the future?

As I visited with agency owners, CEOs, and senior leaders during the NAHC March on Washington and Private Duty Home Care meeting this past week, the biggest issue I was hearing was the impact of The Accountable Care Act on the business operations and finances of home health, hospice, and private duty home care.  Monday evening I participated in a series of stand-up round table conversations about the biggest strategic issues in Private Duty.

On Tuesday, we went over to the Russell Senate Office Building to hear from eight senators who support home care and hospice (See previous post).  Then we spent some time reviewing the legislative and regulatory priorities from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice.

Here’s what’s on top of the list for NAHC:

  • Ensure home care and hospice participation in transitions of care, Accountable Care Organizations, Chronic Care Management, Heath Information Exchanges, and other health care delivery reforms.
  • Allow Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistance to sign home health plans of care.
  • Recognize Telehomecare interactions as bona fide Medicare and Medicaid services.
  • Enact a comprehensive home and community based long term care program for all age groups
  • Ensure the availability of home care and hospice personnel to meet the growing needs of the baby boom generation.
  • Ensure appropriate and adequate reimbursement for and access to Medicare home health services.
  • Oppose a “sick tax” – a fee paid by patients to access Medicare Home Health services.
  • Establish reasonable standards for rebasing Medicare home health service payment rates.
  • Reform the home health face-to-face encounter requirement.
  • Require Medicare Advantage plans to provide a home health benefit fully equivalent to original Medicare
  • Ensure full market basket updates to Medicare home health.
  • Establish transparent and accurate processes for modification of PPS payment rates and case-mix adjustments
  • Ensure full market basket updates for the Medicare hospice benefit.
  • Revise the requirements for Hospice face-to-face encounters.
  • Oppose expansion of co-payments for Medicare hospice benefit.
  • Ensure access to hospice care for rural patients.
  • Protect and expand access to home and community based care under Medicaid.
  • Protect access to home care and hospice services, including care paid for directly by individuals.

This is an ambitious agenda, and we encourage you to get involved in your state home care association, and to actively support the legislative and regulatory agenda of your state and the National Association.

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